Retail chains in Poland have spent a total of approximately PLN350 million (€79.39 million) by the end of June 2020 on measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from POHiD - Polska Organizacja Handlu i Dystrybucji (the Polish Trade and Distribution Organisation).
Out of this amount, retailers spent PLN 324 million (€73.49 million) on implementing hygiene measures in retail outlets, while around PLN 26 million (€5.90 million) were distributed as part of social assistance.
President of POHiD, Renata Juszkiewicz, commented, “During the pandemic, the networks took on a huge organisational and financial burden of implementing security policy in all retail outlets, without even the slightest support from government shields.
“They have been fighting this fight completely independently from the beginning of the pandemic.”
Retailers invested in personal protective equipment such as masks, helmets, disposable gloves, and hand disinfectants.
They also installed plexiglass covers at checkout counters to ensure a safe distance between customers and employees.
Retail outlets also spent on high-quality, specialised cleaning solutions for the systematic disinfection of shopping carts, shopping baskets and other surfaces, such as shelves, refrigerated counters, cash desks, PIN pads, and floors.
In addition, retail chains conducted extensive information campaigns for customers, which included, among others, printing posters with instructions on recommended safety procedures.
The costs incurred by retail networks do not take into account the decrease in turnover and margins, the decrease in revenues from the rental of space to tenants, legal and tax consultancy, or employee costs, such as meals or incentives, POHiD added.
In terms of social assistance, the aid from retail companies has extensively supported critical infrastructure units, regional quarantine centres as well as charity organisations and food banks.
The financial aid from these companies was used purchasing SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests, respirators and specialist medical equipment as well as personal protective equipment for doctors, the trade body said.
Juszkiewicz added, "During the pandemic, international retail chains passed the exam in corporate social responsibility. Operating in extremely difficult conditions, they ensured Polish families constant access to food and essential items and kept prices as low as possible.
"They ... ensured the safety of customers and trade workers, in a real way reducing the scope of the epidemic. They have made every effort to protect jobs. They supported institutions and organisations of key importance for the functioning of society and the economy, and also showed their heart and kind help to those most in need."
Hospitals, ambulance stations and other units of critical infrastructure received help in the form of food, beds, mattresses, blankets, bedding, disinfectant dispensers, waste segregation bins, and construction and finishing materials from member companies of the POHiD.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.